The US Supreme Court on Monday rejected a lower court’s ruling that Iranian assets held outside of the US could be seized to satisfy a judgment issued in the US against Iran.
The suit involves family members of US troops killed in the 1983 bombing of the US Marine Corp barracks in Lebanon. The family members won the lawsuit against Iran, then sought to recover the money owed to them by Iran as stipulated by the judgment.
In 2016 the Supreme Court, relying on The Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, allowed the families to recover about $1.7 billion of Iran’s assets from a New York bank account that belonged to Bank Markazi, Iran’s Central Bank.
However, disputes over where Bank Markazi’s assets were located continued, with Bank Markazi claiming that the assets where not located in a NY bank account but in Luxembourg in a Clearstream Banking bank account and thus could not be seized to pay off the US troops family members.
In 2017 the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the families could try to seize Bank Markazi’s assets, even though they were held outside of the US. But the Supreme Court rejected the Second Circuit’s ruling Monday and sent the case back to the lower court so that it could issue a new decision based on the National Defense Authorization Act, a new law signed by US President Donald Trump on December 20, 2019, which could help US troops’ families recover damages owed to them by Iran.